Workout of the Day:
Five rounds for time of:
400 Meter Run
15 Overhead Squats, 95/65 lbs.
The Importance of Overhead Squats
Written by Sage Burgener
Overhead squats are the one exercise that can really haunt us in our sleep. At first we think, “How hard can it be?” placing something as light as a PVC pipe or broomstick over our head and squatting down. No problem, right? But as the pools of sweat start to form at our feet after about five reps, we quickly realize that the seemingly simple movement can actually reveal our biggest weaknesses.
By doing one overhead squat you can tell how flexible your shoulders, ankles, hips and calves are. First off, if you cannot place the bar directly overhead while pushing your shoulders up into your ears without the bar coming forward, we know you have problems with shoulder mobility. Second, if your back is rounding as you descend into the bottom of the squat and you are unable to keep your chest up, we know your hips are tight. Third, if your heels come off the ground as you lower your body down into a squat, then we know you have issues with ankle and calf flexibility. But don’t worry, all of these things can be fixed! How? By doing even more overhead squats! Doing overhead squats with the bar (or PVC) directly overhead, your shoulders shrugged, your heels on the ground, and your chest up for multiple repetitions is the best way to loosen up those tight muscles and the best way to get them in the positions they need to be in.
Aside from improving flexibility, overhead squats have other benefits as well. As your technique and flexibility improves and you are able to put a little weight on the bar, overhead squats are GREAT for strengthening your overhead position. And because it is critical to stay tight and stabilize the weight overhead as you squat your body down, the movement is extremely beneficial for strengthening the core. With a strong overhead squat position and a strong core comes a strong receiving position for the snatch. And that is what us Olympic weightlifting Crossfitters are after!
So, if you are having flexibility issues and you want to improve your functional strength, overhead squat, overhead squat, and overhead squat! Even if it is with a PVC pipe, I guarantee that just doing the movement will benefit you in the long run. By doing 50,40, even 30 overhead squats a day you will see a significant difference in your flexibility. Remember, you don’t have to pump these reps out as fast as you can. Slow the movement down and stay in the bottom of the squat to stretch everything out. If you feel the burn and endure the pain, success will come!